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Overview

cai-logoThe Center for Applied Innovation (CAI) is a for-profit organization facilitating centers of excellence formed around public-private partnerships. Each partnership brings together human ingenuity and technology, from any source, to solve complex problems. The CAI and its associated centers are non-partisan bodies dedicated to changing the future through applying innovation to solve the most difficult problems encountered by public and private sector customers—from individual companies to sovereign nations. A portion of the CAI’s private sector profits support PIF’s charitable work.

The CAI maintains its own web site, the Virtual Community, which includes a discussion forum — all in support of CAI's work.

OVERVIEW

As a concept to define problems and provide solutions, the Center for Applied Innovation will redefine the government – private sector capability development paradigm.

The Center for Applied Innovation provides a virtual and physical place where the best people and the best technology, regardless of source or organization, are brought together within the right context to solve the most challenging problems while maintaining a clear definition of the future.

The Philosophy is equally simple. The need is for an ability to bring the right people, the right understanding, the right insight, and the right technology together within the right context at any time required to achieve the goal.

The CAI Strategy is to use discovery, adaptation, and integration to develop and implement a business process that will achieve optimal creativity, innovation, capabilities, and solutions.It accomplishes this using an innovative approach of engaging industry and other members of the private sector to quickly bring the best minds (intellectual, imaginative, and creative) together with the best material and non-material solutions in a collaborative environment where concepts, capabilities, and other solutions are determined.

Capabilities

The CAI strategy will produce a business process that will rapidly develop and produce products using several key capabilities. The organization and processes will:

  • Complete material and non-material concept and prototype experimental thrusts in 18 months or less with the goal of 9 months as the average for normal tasks.
  • Finish a minimum of 6 tasks per fiscal year.
  • Create an environment with industry for a full and open dialogue (vice discussion)[1] of experimental questions so they are able to determine which questions align with their objectives.
  • Enable industry to better understand government focus areas so they can use their experience and insights to help us determine what high payoff issues we should focus on.
  • Disclose all experimental results and findings openly between partners.
  • Share technologies that are part of experimental questions openly between partners.
  • Remove obstacles to sharing appropriate Intellectual Property (IP) rights for specific projects.
  • Access large networked experimental environments, laboratories, and others from the public and private sectors.

Candidate tasks will be selected using defined criteria while non-selected concepts and prototype capabilities can go through other frameworks as may be available to the customer outside the CAI.

Structure

Core group – The organic facility staff provides daily facility operation of routine and experimental facilities. They manage the global context and the main contextual database containing all the information flowing in. They develop and maintain the Global Context. For our people we will apply one simple approach: hire the best people in the world. They will be available to support the project partners and augment whoever the government brings in. Organizations provide their own core teams of any size based on their level of participation. The core group includes a Shared Services Center available to all participants. It provides services that include legal, contracting, financial management, internal review and assessment, strategic planning, Intellectual Property (IP), agreements, information technology, facilities and venue. An internal review capability will ensure the CAI (along with its Associates and Affiliates) undergo objective review and assessment embrace continual innovation and improvement, as well as stay attuned to the Voice of the Customer (VOC).

Right people, any place, any time – The best is always available from participants such as the governmental, academic, private sector, multi-national, and inter-agency participants. Each comes with their own expertise and access to the best in their respective areas. The result is a strong internal network built from partnerships inherent in the design. The facility’s collaboration capability and the ability to provide that capability to any location in the world make it possible to bring in anyone from any place at any time (physically or virtually) for as long or as short as required.

Continual Assessment - In addition to internal assessments participants are offered use of an objective assessment capability for their processes and their programs ranging from corporate audit to program success.


[1] The term dialogue is specifically chosen to set the tone and the environment for the effort. By definition, dialogue means "flow of meaning" while discussion has the same root as concussion and percussion - literally "to shake apart" or argue the pros and cons. Dialogue is "inquiry-oriented, or listening-oriented" while discussion is "advocacy-oriented." This behavior is key to the organization’s approach of free and open discussion where participant’s shed their parochial baggage in favor of contributing toward the best solution regardless of source.

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